In the Drug Policy Alliance’s first installment of its 2015 Telephone Town Hall series, which is designed to expand the breadth and depth of those concerned with ending the drug war, the organization’s Movement Building Team presented Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III, senior pastor of the 12,000-member congregation Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. He was interviewed by DPA’s grants program director, asha bandele.
Rev. Haynes was steadfast in his belief that the drug war is immoral, that locking up people who smoke marijuana is not an answer to the drug’s use or misuse and that ultimately, to disrupt not only mass incarceration but mass criminalization—or the New Jim Crow—that we must move toward the legalization of marijuana. He also called on all churches to act as agents of transformation, or re-entry stations for people who are returning to society from prison. Rev. Haynes fielded a number of questions from other faith leaders interested in ending the drug war and mass incarceration, as well as activists who wanted their congregations to follow Haynes’ lead.